Police warn drug drivers enforcement measures imminent


2023-03-10 12:32:34

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Drug drivers have been warned they face a sobering response at checkpoints as tougher transport laws come into force on Saturday.

Assistant Commissioner Bruce O’Brien said new infringements and tougher penalties are in line for drivers found to be driving while impaired when the new Land Transport (Drug Driving) Amendment Act comes kicks in.

“For the first time, drugs that impair the ability to drive safely have been ring-fenced by law and drug concentration levels introduced that enable additional enforcement measures and penalties,” he said.

“This is a significant step against reducing the harm caused on our roads by drug driving.”

Data collected from fatal crashes highlighted the presence of impairing drugs in a driver’s blood was now generally about equal to alcohol, O’Brien said.

The figure has more than doubled since 2015.

There were 93 people killed in crashes in 2021 where a driver was found to have the presence of drugs, nearly a third of all fatalities that year.

“Police are ready to enforce these new laws and we will continue to use our current practice to identify drivers using drugs by carrying out compulsory impairment tests (CIT),” O’Brien said.

“If a driver fails this test, they would be required to give an evidential blood test for analysis which can determine what enforcement action is deemed appropriate for the offence.”

Legislative changes

  • Introduction of Schedule 5 to the Act with 25 listed qualifying drugs that have the highest risk of impairing the ability to drive safely. These are: alprazolam, amphetamine, buprenorphine, clonazepam, cocaine, codeine, diazepam, dihydrocodeine, fentanyl, GHB, ketamine, lorazepam, MDMA, methadone, methamphetamine, midazolam, morphine, nitrazepam, oxazepam, oxycodone, temazepam, THC (cannabis), tramadol, triazolam, and zopiclone.
  • New enforcement levels (or limits) with a lower (threshold) and higher (high-risk) level for each listed qualifying drug in Schedule 5.
  • Blood test analysis will now confirm either the presence or level of a qualifying drug.
  • Introduction of infringement level offences for drivers between the threshold and high-risk levels.
  • Tougher penalties for driving after consuming qualifying drugs, mixing with other qualifying drugs, and/or alcohol.
  • 82 new offences.
  • O’Brien said a procurement process to identify a suitable oral fluid testing device to carry out random roadside drug driving testing could not find a device to meet the criteria and intent of the legislation.

    “Random roadside drug driving testing will still be implemented following amendments made to the legislation, which is likely to include a confirmatory evidential laboratory test similar to how devices are used in other jurisdictions including Australia,” O’Brien said.

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Source by [earlynews24.com]